The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) has launched a one million US dollar African Union (AU) funded project with a two-day inception meeting from June 25-26, 2018 at the Centre with participation from the core project implementation partners. The project allows WACCI to work with government and industry partners on Crop and Soil Health Improvement for sustainable Agricultural Intensification towards Economic Transformation in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) for 3 years to in order address issues relating to food and nutrition security objectives of the AU, under its Competitive Research Grant Scheme supported by the European Union.
AU Project Team Present at the Inception Meeting at WACCI, University of Ghana
In his opening remarks, Prof. Eric Danquah the Director of WACCI praised the Centre for its achievements in human capacity development breeding of improved varieties of crops for the sub region. He said since inception, WACCI has graduate a total of 54 PhD students in Plant Breeding. An additional 14 will be added in July 2018 making a total of 66 PhD graduates in Plant Breeding. The Director also highlighted the quality of the training programme in producing leading scientists and said that the Centre is now striving for strategic partnerships to address farmers needs for increased production by tackling the challenges along the value chains from the “lab to the fork”. The meeting which sort to streamline coordinated activities required to deliver the expected results and impact on food security, focused on presentation of the various Research Projects, the organization of Farmer Field Schools and Value Chain Workshops in Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, Project Implementation Timelines, Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting.
Participants at the meeting included Prof. Pangirayi Bernard Tongoona and Dr. Beatrice Ifie who are Maize breeders at the Centre; Dr. Maxwell Asante (Centre for Industrial and Scientific Research - Crops Research Institute, Kumasi) and Dr. Valentine Traore (INERA, Burkina Faso) who will be leading the Rice breeding component of the AU Project; Dr. John S.Y. Eleblu of WACCI who is the leader of the Cowpea Improvement Programme; Dr. Dorcas Ibitoye (National Institute of Horticulture, Nigeria) the leader of the Tomato Breeding programme under the project; Drs. Agyemang Danquah and Daniel Dzidzienyo who are coordinators of the project. Prof. Rodomiro Ortiz, who is a Faculty (Chair) Professor of Genetics and Plant Breeding at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and brings on board technical backstopping for successful project implementation.
Prof. Eric Danquah, Director of WACCI, in his closing remarks applauded the entire WACCI team for their commitment in winning this highly competitive project. He urged members to keep accurate records of all monetary transactions as they will be audited to ensure accountability. He further admonished all members to deliver project outcomes as expected of them to help put smiles on the faces of farmers while keeping up the good work in helping address the issues of food insecurity in the sub region to make the African Union proud.